Sick of hot cross buns? This hot cross bun bread pudding recipe is a take on the school dinner classic, making great use of leftover hot cross buns.
Typically eaten to mark the end of lent in many historically Christian countries, hot cross buns are synonymous with Easter. Although they’re traditionally eaten on Good Friday (once forbidden except at burials, Christmas, or on Good Friday), the buns are now widely available in the lead up to the beginning of Spring, available year-round in some supermarkets. Following a weekend of indulgence, many households tend to harbour leftover hot cross buns, many of which end up going to waste. This hot cross bun bread pudding recipe encourages repurposing, however, fighting the huge issue of food waste. In the UK, we waste around 900,000 tonnes of bread each year, which equates to around 24 million slices, or 1 million loaves, every day. That’s almost 9 billion slices a year.
An absolute classic, bread pudding is generally made with stale bread. While it’s considered a quintessentially British dessert, countless regional variations are also served over the world. Regardless of the season, this recipe also makes a good, old-fashioned bread pudding with regular stale bread (approximately 250g) in place of hot cross buns. But the hot cross buns lend even further spice and fruit, as well as being far more pliable.
The hot cross bun bread pudding is also decorated with a paste of flour and water, as is traditional with hot cross buns, but it’s mainly used for ornamentation and is completely optional here. Simply break up the hot cross buns, soak in milk for 30 minutes, mix with the extra spices, dried fruit, suet and sugar, then bake for a total of 90 minutes. Sprinkle with white granulated sugar and allow the dessert to cool and slightly solidify before cutting into portions and serving.
- Piping bag with thin nozzle (optional)
- 12×6" baking tin
- 6-7 hot cross buns
- ½ pint milk
- 115 g mixed dried fruit
- 55 g suet or vegetarian alternative
- 1 ½ tbsp mixed spice
- 30 g soft brown sugar
- 1 egg whisked
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Grated nutmeg optional
- Unsalted butter for greasing
For the crosses
- 75 g flour optional
- 5 tbsp water optional
- Break the hot cross buns into small pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Pour over the milk and soak for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
- Grease a 12×6" baking tin, or line with greaseproof paper.
- Beat the hot cross bun and milk mixture together with a fork, then add the fruit, brown sugar, suet, beaten egg, and spice. Mix well to combine.
- Pour into the prepared tin and spread evenly, making sure all of the corners are filled.
- Grate nutmeg over the top, to taste.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes (or 1 hour 30 minutes if not making the crosses).
- To make the crosses, whisk 75g flour with the water, adding one tablespoon at a time. Once combined, add the mixture to a piping bag with a thin nozzle and pipe over the bread pudding after it’s been cooking for 1 hour 10 minutes. (Alternatively, add the mixture to a zip lock bag and cut the corner off in place of a piping bag and nozzle.) Return to the oven for 20 minutes and cook at 200C/Gas 5.
- Once cooked (a knife will come out clean, when inserted into the pudding), sprinkle white granulated sugar over the top and leave to cool in the tin.